I had the pleasure of attending a panel last night titled, “ROI in Social Media” hosted by @espreedevora and Zex Sports featuring two panelists, Greg Cargill and John Furnari from Big Method: a digital marketing agency focused on leveraging social media to connect clients directly to their audience. Here’s a brief recap and some key takeaways:
What elements combine to make a successful social media campaign?
- Research & Strategy – this was stressed as the most important part of the process. Do you research first. Assess your market. Look at your competition and see what they’re doing and not doing. Get a baseline of your current stats to compare to as you progress through your campaign.
- Mediums & Destinations – just because there are tons of social networks and platforms doesn’t mean you need to target them all. Match the areas you’re targeting and the mediums you use to the target audience and focus your efforts on these strategic areas. These could be Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Your Own Blog, a targeted niche community (ex: http://woodtube.ning.com/).
- Video – Definitely use video to get your message across. The moderator of the panel, David Lehre, was a pefect example of using video to market your brand and to harness the power of video on the Internet as a potential tool for virality. Check out his “My Space: The Movie” to see an example of a video that got 1,000,000 hits in 24 hours.
- Blog Outreach – Don’t make the mistake of blanket messaging bloggers. Take the time to target the key ones in your market and reach out to them and ask them how they would like to be approached. Keep track of these preferences and nurture these relationships. Each one may require a customized approach. The effort pays off, however, as they are seen as key influencers who affect the decisions of your target audience.
- Micro Blogging – Make use of the micro blogging platforms (ex: Twitter, Posterus, 12 Seconds) to connect with people, have conversations, represent your brand/product and to act as beacons collecting people into your key destinations (see #2).
- Contesting – People go bananas for contests! They give up their email address. They do things for you like tweet and re-tweet. They create videos and take pictures. The collective value of the customer information you get along with the organic and persistant web content is worth so much more than the widget or thingamabob that you give away. (Props here to @jonathan360 for repping the Ford #FiestaMovement with an audience participation moment highlighting the fact that he’s driving around in a free car with free gas for six months)
How to measure ROI on a social media campaign?
- Sales & Cost Savings – If you’re driving traffic to an online storefront, then the data you can track is even greater than any traditional media spend. You can absolutely track and trace purchasing to the source (given…you have to take some time and effort to put the tracking mechanisms in place). Big Method quickly showed their own tracking tool which looked very impressive. I’m going to ask for a follow-up demo on that to see just how much data they can track about social media campaigns using their proprietary tools.
- Subscriber Base Growth – If you value your customers, or if you value your audience then measuring your subscriber base and calculating the value of an individual against this base can directly represent “return” on your investment. Measuring you overall subscriber base is the collective total of your Facebook Fans, Twitter followers, Linked In group members, Email Newsletter subscribers, podcast downloaders, You Tube channel subscribers and more… You can also compare the alternate costs of acquiring these customers and assign that value to the number.
- Content Consumption – Most ad campaigns online charge by view or by click. Well, if you publish a video that gets 100,000 views…there’s value associated with that. You can measure the consumption of your content (image views, video views, page views, podcast downloads) and measure it against a per-view value set by the same cost that you would have to apply to an ad buy or paid placement.
- User Engagement & Conversations- Blog comments, @ replies and inbound emails generated by your social media activity are a metric you can measure. The value of these mentions are similar to the value of consumption as well as subscriber base, however they are more of an opportunity for conversion where someone has indicated an interest in your message and its up to you to convert them into ambassadors for your product.
- Site Traffic & Referrals – Using analytics for your sites, you can easily measure the effectiveness of your campaign and assign a value to that. Watch your traffic spike and grow as you apply your social media strategy or dip and decline as you fail to execute.
- SEO Benefits – For a very detailed assessment of SEO benefits from social media, read last month’s panel recap. For this panel, it was noted that your link backs and page rankings for keywords should be used as metrics for ROI analysis.
- Product Development & Feedback – Lowering R&D costs by crowdsourcing is a huge win for companies looking to develop a product. Using social media for this is an extremely effective way to engage with the market to help deisgn and refine your offering.
Useful links & tools thrown around during the evening were:
- Ubertwitter for Blackberry
- Facebook for Influencers group within Facebook
- Facebook Marketing
- Red Bull‘s Twitter Fan Page with over 1,000,000 fans
Photos & Video of the Event:
@wmmarc’s Flickr Pool
@TechZulu coverage of the event (video coming soon)